And what you can learn from her
Like many successful entrepreneurs, Dr. Som Singh has a diverse set of personal experiences. She began life as a scratch golfer (a member of Karnataka Golf Association) before going onto years as a student and then a career in marketing. Now, as the head of Unspun Consulting Group, she helps other businesses build their brand.
Singh grew up in Karnataka, in the heart of India. She came from a family of doctors, and this meant, in the context of Karnataka’s culture, she was expected to be a doctor too. An honorable profession, but not for her. So instead, in a time-honored tradition, she moved to her land’s capital, in this case, Bangalore, to find opportunity.
The city of Bangalore is called the Silicon Valley of India, since it has the highest concentration of computer firms in India. Yet as she studied, Singh found that her interests lay more in business fields such as marketing. This caused her parents to disown her.
Like any good entrepreneur, Singh had a desire to put some money together and a modest idea for how to do it. She learned how to make chocolates and began selling them. She worked her way through college that way, in addition to doing a couple of ad hoc consulting gigs for boutiques and other companies.
After graduation, Singh began her career with firms such as Akamai and Red Hat. After learning the ropes of business, Singh decided to become an entrepreneur. She then started the Unspun Consulting Group and its attendant marketing technology, ACT. This piece of technology examines how customers react to the various marketing channels of a campaign.
It helps Unspun meet its goal of using research to advise its clients of the right campaigns. This is where the Bangalore culture drove Singh, who calls Unspun a “technology driven marketing concern.”
Mentor and Investor
There are many entrepreneurs who make a lot of products. Some, who sell products that work their way into the fabric of everyday life, will, because of that, be world famous. Others are known only to a few in the industry. Some, however, become a bit more well known when they become mentors. They establish ways of passing on what they’ve learned, and thus become more respected and of greater acclaim.
This was the case with Singh, who founded the Centre of Entrepreneurial Excellence, an education engine using webinars and workshops to educate entrepreneurs about government regulations and policies that affect them and that can help them. It also puts on fundraisers.
Further, Singh has branched out into angel investing and is a mentor at accelerators.
Singh’s story is inspiring for a few reasons. Clearly, as much as any of the entrepreneurs we’ve covered, she forged her own path. It didn’t matter that her calling wasn’t something sanctioned by her family or something for to which a path was clearly laid out. Not only did her parents want her to go into a different business, but she also faced challenges within the industry she chose as a woman. In some cases, she felt physically unsafe during some of her business travels.
It is probably the toughness of the road she traveled that most inspired Singh to serve as a mentor to women, who she knew would go through some of the same difficulties.